The New Patriotic Party government has the vision to develop the Techiman Central Market into an ultra-modern market to befit its status as the leading agricultural market in West Africa.
Prof. Christopher Ameyaw-Ekumfi, Minister of Ports, Harbours and Railways, disclosed this at the opening of Techiman Market branch of the Ghana Commercial Bank on Wednesday.
The Minister, who is MP-elect for Techiman North, expressed regret at the rate at which unauthorised structures had sprung up in the market and called for a halt to this development.
The opening of the market branch brings to two the number of branches in Techiman Municipality and increases the bank's branches throughout the country to 147.
The branch, the second to be opened in the region this year after Sampa in Jaman North, has been hooked to the bank's Wide Area Network(WAN), the widest in Ghana, which consists of the 147 branches and 10 agencies.
Prof. Ameyaw-Ekumfi said the opening of more branches by the bank was "a demonstration of the success of the micro-economic policy initiated by the NPP government", resulting in the growth of the country's financial sector.
He commended the management and board of GCB for "turning the fortunes of the bank around" and indicated the government's commitment to supporting the bank to grow.
The Minister advised customers and market women who would benefit from the bank's activities, especially accessing loans, to keep faith with the bank and repay the loans granted them to enable others to benefit.
Ms. Joyce Attah-Krah, General Manager of Retail Banking Division of GCB, in an address read for her, noted that the bank was established in May 1953, as the Bank of the Gold Coast with the vision of providing banking services for the socio-economic development of the emerging nation.
Ms. Attah-Krah said the main objective of the bank was to give attention to Ghanaian traders, business people as well as farmers who could not elicit support from the expatriates.
She stated that the GCB had grown from one branch in the 1960's to 147 and had since January this year opened 10 branches in seven regions in line with its mission of taking banking to every part of the country.
The general manager disclosed that presently the government's ownership in the bank stood at 21.36 per cent, while institutional and individual holdings made up to 78.64 per cent.
Mr. Agyemang Budu, Area Manager, Sunyani Zone of the Bank, in his welcoming address, said the opening of the market branch underscored the desire of the GCB to bring banking services to every Ghanaian in business.
He said traders could conveniently deposit their daily incomes at the branch and have access to their monies at any of other branches of the bank in the country.
The area manager disclosed that the bank had developed new products as smart-pay for bills, seepayment, kudi nkosuo, GCB Inland, door-to-door cash collection, express money transfer and royal banking, among others, and urged traders to patronise them.
Oseadeyo Ekumfi-Ameyaw IV, Omanhene of Techiman Traditional Area, who is also Sunyani Manager of GCB, who presided, lauded the opening of the two branch offices of the bank in Techiman Municipality.
He noted that the market branch would serve a lot of people, especially market women.
The chief commended GCB for supporting Techiman Traditional Council with GHC 500 towards the construction of police barracks at Takofiano, a suburb of Techiman.
He asked the staff of the bank to work within its rules and regulations and to diligently address customers' problems to enable the public to have confidence in the financial institution.